Please welcome romance author, Amanda Usen, to Over Coffee. Amanda is a writer, chef, and a romantic. She even brought us some fancy cappuccino to share with us. Isn’t that cup of cappuccino pretty—you almost want to frame rather than drink it, lol!
I love her thoughts on attitude and balance—a writer needs both to be successful. Balance tells you when to step away and refill your creative well and the need to stay connected to your life. Most writers I know are balancing jobs, family, and writing. Balance keeps you from burning out. It helps when you have your own personal hero (who is also a talented chef) whispering balance in your ear.
Sia has been talking a lot of good sense about attitude lately. I don’t think an hour of the day goes by that I don’t ponder some form of that concept myself. In fact, in a recent e-mail to my agent, I typed, “Writing is such a head game!” It all comes from within. If, like me, you depend on outward signs of success to help you feel positive and triumphant, you might be in serious trouble if you want to be a professional writer. In fact, as my high school BFF told me last week, “I think if you wanted easy, you picked the wrong profession.” She also quoted Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird, to me – a great book to read for writing inspiration.
How do you stay chained to that intangible creative force in the face of reviews, promotion, day jobs, demanding children and partners, edits, rejection and days when there are no words in your head? Coffee helps. J Some days it feels like too much pressure. I think that’s why Olivia, my heroine in Luscious, came into being the way she did. I am a hardcore pantser; my stories create themselves on the screen of my subconscious as I write. Olivia has reached her limit. Her marriage is over. She hates her job. Her two best friends have fallen in love with each other. She decides to quit, to give up on her current life, to go to Verona and tell her parents she doesn’t want to run the family restaurant anymore and to figure out how to pick up the pieces after she has a nice, wet meltdown in Italy.
Of course, it’s a romance – so her meltdown doesn’t proceed exactly as she plans. Also, I’m a romantic, so she has to rediscover her mojo with the help of one sweetheart of a hero, her divorce lawyer Sean. I depend a lot upon my own hero, my husband, to keep me from flying apart, too. He is the one whispering balance in my ear when I’ve been sitting in front of the computer for three days straight, trying to finish a story. Yes, you have to show up every day, but you also have to know when to take a break and fill the well. You can’t write when you’re tapped out. At least, I can’t. And it becomes progressively harder to break out of the chair the longer I’ve been sitting there.
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Plain old ice cream just isn't going to cut it. To beat these blues, chef Olivia Marconi needs the good stuff: rich, creamy tiramisu gelato. And no place better to get it than Italy.
But a fresh start is nearly impossible with Sean Kindred dogging her every move. She's been burned by his too-hot-to-handle antics before. Though there's no denying the man can still get her all fired up.
Could a weeklong affair finally turn into something more lasting...or will it all go up in flames?
Since I never forgot what they taught me in school, I write what I know. Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite scenes in Luscious, where Olivia gets her groove back in the kitchen
There are so many things in life that can pull our focus from positivity.
- Have you ever lost your mojo? Your balance? Your groove? How?
- And what did you do to get it back?
Leave a comment below, for the chance to win a copy of Luscious.
Thanks for having me on the blog today, Sia. I always enjoy sharing a cup of coffee with a fellow attitude adjuster! J
Amanda Usen knows two things for certain: chocolate cheesecake is good for breakfast and a hot chef can steal your heart. Her husband stole hers on the first day of class at the Culinary Institute of America. They married after graduation in a lovely French Quarter restaurant in New Orleans. After enjoying the food and the fun in the Big Easy for a few years, they returned to Western New York to raise a family.Amanda spends her days teaching pastry arts classes at a local community college and her nights writing romance. She’s a member of the and the. When she’s not writing, teaching or baking, she can usually be found chasing the kids around the yard with her very own scrumptious husband.
You can find Amanda: Facebook, Website--be sure to check out her recipe page!